Celebrating Iconic Women in Science

Female lab assistant working in a lab

There have been many women who are leaders in ground-breaking scientific research across the globe and have had a significant role in humanity’s scientific advancement. Even though they are so significant in the scientific community, women only represent about 33.3% of scientific researchers globally. Despite their smaller numbers, history is full of women who made historical contributions to science.

Today, we are going to take a moment to look at some of the powerhouses in the scientific community and highlight their amazing achievements.

Marie-Anne Paulze Lavoisier
(January 20, 1758 – February 10, 1836)

Regarded as the mother of modern chemistry, she got her start as the wife of a chemist and nobleman and served as his assistant, and contributed to his work. She was fluent in Latin, English, and French and helped translate several scientific works. Her translations led to the discovery of oxygen gas and were instrumental in the standardization of the scientific method.

Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake
(January 21, 1840 – January 7, 1912)

An English physician, teacher, and feminist who helped lead the campaign to secure women’s access to a college education as a part of the “Edinburgh Seven”. She began studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1869 and devoted her life to the advancement of women’s rights in the field of medicine. After a riot at Surgeon’s Hall in 1870, several petitions were sent to the medical institutions and the government which led to the Medical Act of 1876, which allowed medical institutions in Britain to license qualified applications regardless of gender.

Marie Curie
(November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934)

A Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conductioned critical research on radioactivity and discovered Radium and Polonium. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the first woman and only person to receive it twice in two scientific fields: physics and chemistry. She also headed the Curie Institution which is a leading medical research in France that is focused on cancer research and radiation therapy.

Vintage photo of female researcher holding flask in the air

The Scientific Powerhouses of 2023

Brilliant women in science have been around since the beginning of science and they are not slowing down anytime soon. Research.com just released its list of the top 10 female scientists across the globe who are making notable achievements in the scientific community.

  1. JoAnn E. Manson (Harvard Medical School) – an American physician and professor who is known for her pioneering research, public leadership, and for advocacy in the fields of epidemiology and women’s health.
  2. Virginia M.-Y. Lee (University of Pennsylvania) – a Chinese-born American biochemist and neuroscientist who specializes in progressing the research of Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Aviv Regev (Broad Institute) – a computational biologist and systems biologist and Executive Vice President and Head of Genentech Research and Early Development in Genentech/Roche. In addition, she is a key member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and a professor at the Department of Biology of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  4. Tamara B. Harris (National Institutes of Health) – a key researcher in the role of the Interdisciplinary Studies of Aging Section is to integrate molecular and genetic epidemiology with interdisciplinary studies of functional outcomes, disease endpoints, and mortality in older persons.
  5. Unnur Thorsteinsdottir (deCODE Genetics Iceland) – currently dean, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland and is best known for her fields of study of genes, internal medicine, and genetics.
  6. Brenda W.J.H. Penninx (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) – a professor at the department of psychiatry and her current research examines the etiology, treatment, and consequences of depressive and anxiety disorders.
  7. Terrie E. Moffitt (Duke University) – an American clinical psychologist who is best known for her research on the development of antisocial behavior and also for her collaboration in research on gene-environment interactions in mental disorders.
  8. Gail Hanson (University of California Riverside) – an American experimental particle physicist who participated in the discovery of the J/psi meson and tau lepton. Her work led to the first evidence of jet production in electron-positron annihilation.
  9. Julie E. Buring (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) – currently her research is in the epidemiology of chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer, and especially among women.
  10. Nora D. Volkow (National Institute on Drug Abuse) – a Mexican-American psychiatrist who is currently the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
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Research For Life - Understanding Whole Body Donor Consent

Hello, my name is Garland Shreves, CEO of Research For Life. I want to take a moment to discuss some very basic information with you regarding consent forms, in general, that you may encounter when considering to donate to a whole body donor organization.

First and foremost, you need to understand and read the consent form, also known as the authorization form or document of gift, so you know what you are consenting to.  Ask questions of the organization if you don’t understand something. 

 All states require, under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, that consent be granted by an authorized agent of the donor or self-authorization before death.

Each state defines who in the consenting class has the most authority to direct donation. Such as the medical power of attorney, spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, etc. and differs slightly in each state. 

Consent may be given by means of a verbal recorded consent or by a written document of gift.

Research For Life uses a written consent form which can be found on our website.

Understand that the donor or authorizing agent is giving the body to an organization. Once given it belongs to the organization to use in accordance with the consent form.

In other words, the donor organization is free to use the donor provided it does so within the terms

of the consent, it may not use the donor in a manner not consented too.  

The consent may state how the body may be used.  Educational and/or research purposes or some other purpose may be stated or in the discretion of the donor organization.

Research For Life provides cadavers and/or anatomical specimens for education and research purposes and does not do ballistic testing.

The consent may state that the body will be used in whole or in parts. It may also state that the anatomical parts may be used domestically and or internationally.

And most consents will cover some basic things like consent to test the donor for diseases and order medical records to help best determine the medical suitability for the donation.

The consent may also touch on issues like for profit or nonprofit status and if the donor or anatomical specimens will be used by one or more or both types of entities.  Remember that regardless of an organizations tax status they all charge fees to end users who order anatomical specimens and offer those specimens to both for profit and nonprofit entities.

From the very start of the donation process costs to the donor organization begin. 24-hour answering service, transport team to respond 24/7, qualified trained staff paid a livable wage with benefits and retirement, electric, gas, phone, insurances, building payments, maintenance, medical director, and regulatory requirements, and cremation fees. And these are just some of the expenses that an organization may have to cover.

Another item you may see on most authorization forms is a release of liability, a hold harmless agreement, excluding misconduct of course.  

Research For Life states clearly it will not and donor or agent agrees that Research For Life will not be held responsible for acts of third parties in connection with the donation.

Another item that reduces a donor organizations liability is the Anatomical Gift Act prohibits criminal, civil or administrative actions provided there is no intentional misconduct on the part of the donor organization. In other words, if the donor organization acted in good faith it is immune and provided some protection from lawsuits.

Another important part on a consent form is the person signing the authorization attests (affirms) that they have the authority to direct the donation. The donor organization accepts the authorizing agent’s authority in good faith barring any information known to it at the time of donation that would contradict the authority of the person authorizing donation.    

Remember, should you decide to register, tell your family and friends about your decision.

Also, the donation authorization form is not valid until notarized or signed by two witnesses; one witness must be non-family or disinterested party. 

Consent forms contain other important information that you need to read and understand.

All documents of gift or authorizations can be cancelled prior to death.

I want to thank you for taking the time to watch this video and I hope it helped provide you with some basic information regarding whole body donation consent forms.  Thank you.